(Sports Network) - Carlos Zambrano will make his return to a major league mound for the first time in eight months this afternoon as the emotional hurler makes his Miami Marlins debut in the finale of a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.
Zambrano hasn't pitched in a regular season game since Aug. 12 while with the Cubs. The right-hander was battered for five homers versus the Braves in that outing and was ejected for throwing inside at Atlanta's Chipper Jones.
That led to Zambrano clearing out his locker and saying he was going to retire. He later changed his mind, but the Cubs placed him on the disqualified list and eventually traded him to the Marlins this offseason.
Zambrano went 9-7 with a 4.82 earned run average in 24 starts a season ago, winning his first two decisions of the campaign to give the 30-year-old a career-best 10-game win streak. Since becoming full-time starter in 2003, he is second in National League with 120 wins.
Coming from the Cubs, Zambrano has plenty of experience against the Reds, having made 32 career starts against them with a 17-11 record. He is 10-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 17 appearances in Cincinnati.
Zambrano will hope that the Marlins saved some offense for today's finale after they broke out in an 8-3 victory on Saturday. Miami had been limited to just a single run in losing its first two games of the season, but three RBI from Giancarlo Stanton as well as two-run homers by Hanley Ramirez and John Buck.
Omar Infante ended a single short of the cycle and Ricky Nolasco earned the win with eight innings of three-run ball.
"It's nice to see the guys build some confidence," said Ozzie Guillen, who got his first win as Marlins manager.
Mat Latos was touched for four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings to take the loss for the Reds.
"It just felt like once when they got runners on base I tried to do too much, make too much of a perfect pitch," said Latos. "I tried to be too fine."
Joey Votto gave Cincinnati a brief lead with his two-run homer in the fourth inning and Zack Cozart, who ended a double shy of the cycle, added a solo shot in the eighth.
The Reds will start 35-year-old Bronson Arroyo this afternoon and the veteran will be looking for a bounce-back campaign in 2012.
Arroyo led the Reds with 32 starts a season ago, but produced just a 9-12 mark and 5.07 ERA. He struggled keeping the ball in the park, leading the NL with a franchise-record 46 homers allowed.
The right-hander lost his first three career decisions versus the Marlins before beating them the last time he faced the club on Aug. 24. Arroyo threw eight scoreless innings, moving to 1-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 11 games (8 starts) against them.
These two clubs split six games last season, but the Marlins have won just six times in 22 games at Cincinnati since 2006.
04/08 10:28:44 ET
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